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Summer is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year with more time to relax and sunny days ahead. However, if you are divorced, this season may cause a difficult change in your normal routine with your co-parent. Ideally, summer vacations and custody schedules are clearly written in your Parenting Plan, but sometimes timing isn’t right, and you wish you could plan your vacation without stress or coordinating with others.
As summer is now upon us, we’d like to share some tips on how to keep summer fun and relaxing time for everyone!
1. Plan Ahead
While this seems obvious, it’s something that can be forgotten when we are already so busy in the present. Taking the time and effort to figure out an idea of what you want your summer to look like can make a huge impact on later stress. Consider that vacations to visit family members are important but, if outside your custody time, you may want to consider if time with your children during the Parenting Plan week would be better spent together than holding strong to the dates if your co-parent is likely to said ‘no’. As a strategy, start by reviewing your parenting plan and/or what you and your co-parent have agreed to. If you want to request a change, request it but remember, you have no control over the other parent and they have the right to say no. Tip: Keep it simple and stress free for yourself by thinking ahead and planning vacations on your custody time.
2. Be Flexible
We can never predict what may happen in the future and plans may need to be adjusted. When you are flexible with your co-parent, they may be encouraged to be flexible with you! You will want to plan for vacations, but every minute of every day does not need to be planned. Consider this, children want to sleep and play during the summer. Vacations are things that adults want to do and children go along and have fun. Tip: Talk with your children about their ideal vacation time. Brainstorm ideas like days at the beach, visit parks or museums, plan walks or hikes in the evenings, play outside, and have fun. Listen to what they say and plan something that will be fun for all of you.
3. Vacations Are NOT Competitions
Simply put, your children are not in the game of “hmmm, I wonder which parent will plan the better vacation this year”. Parents sometimes create these competitions. We encourage you to relieve yourself of the pressure to spend money you don’t have in order to compete with your co-parent about whose vacation was better. Children just want to have time with no school, no early morning start to their day and most hope for a later bedtime. Your child’s love is nothing to compete for, and most definitely cannot be bought with money. Simple summer activities can feel like a fun vacation if you worry less about what the other parent is planning and focus more on your plans with your children. Tip: Focus on fun activities that create memories that will last a lifetime. A simple day of playing in the plastic pool in your front yard with fresh made lemonade or ice tea that you watch brew all day may provide much more quality time memories that an afternoon at the Waterpark where you wait in lines for hours to go down waterslides. Summer is about fun memories. Keep it simple!
4. Remember The Purpose Of Summer Vacations
Summer is meant to be a time for fun! When you’re planning your summer activities, don’t forget to enjoy them too. A vacation is meant to build a deeper connection with your children and make memories that you’ll both cherish. As long as you’re keeping your children safe, having their best interests in mind, and communicating with your co-parent, summer vacations should be a breeze! Tip: Keep it safe and let your children share the fun!